Self care for students by students

In what feels like the longest semester of my entire life, I’ve found myself struggling here and there to ensure that I’m taking care of myself. And I know I’m not the only one. 

And that happens, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all have different sets of experiences and have course loads, one, or more part-time jobs and have other aspects of our lives to balance at the same time: a relationship, eating healthy, working out, taking care of family and more. 

But as important as it is for us to be productive, it is equally as important for us to look after ourselves and those around us. 

Having been tired of hearing the same cliche tips from the Internet like putting on a face mask and telling your peers to smile, we wanted to look into some real self care tips from students, by students that we can keep in mind.

We asked some Ryerson students and here’s what they had to say:

“Don’t try and multitask when writing our notes—pay your full attention to your work”

“Treat yourself to a nice breakfast at a restaurant and start off the day of studying happy and well fed”

“Drink water!! Good for your body in general but especially for energy, mood and concentration”

“Shower before your smell knocks you out”

“A good cry always helps”

“SLEEP. Having enough energy to think through an answer is better than barely remembering”

“Meditation and yoga! Even if it’s for five minutes it really helps”

“Prioritize a downtime hour before bed to relax and reduce stress levels. So we can ~rise and shine~”

“Intricate adult colouring books are a nice way to destress and feelings of accomplishment”

“A hot shower and taking a minute to do your face care routine goes a long way even if you think there’s no time”

RU Student Life also sat down and talked to Maryam Goudarzi, the Health Promotions Programs Coordinator at Ryerson Student Wellbeing to ask about how students can look after themselves. 

Q: What are some of the main stressors or concerns you have noticed students usually have? 

Maryam: The biggest thing I’ve noticed with students is lack of time management. And most of the time, especially when it gets close to finals or midterms, you see students trying to catch up and when they do that they usually proceed with having less sleep, not eating enough food or cutting out their physical activity. We’ve also seen a lot of students spend many hours in the library, they don’t even get up to get a snack or they turn to coffee or energy drinks, but that’s not hydration. It doesn’t do what water is supposed to do. 

Q: How do these stressors impact a students’ wellbeing? 

Maryam: Their stress level goes higher and higher but they can’t really find ways to alleviate that or they can’t detect what’s happening. Everyone is different. Every individual’s lifestyle is different. Students need to give themselves a break. If you plan your day and accomplish what you can, that’s fine. If you don’t, you can’t compare yourself with your friends, or cousins or siblings. Everyone should know their own limit and try to work the best they can. 

Q: Do you have any tips or guidance for those who tend to push their limits or other folks who do not know what their limits are?

Maryam: Have a five-minute check in throughout the day. And by that five minutes, I mean check in on yourself. Did I have my breakfast? Did I have my lunch? Having that kind of five-minute schedule will help students and their body and that has a big effect. From there you can expand.

Unfortunately most of us, including myself, whenever we want to do something, we go extreme. From tomorrow, I’ll think of being the person who wakes up at 6 a.m., have breakfast, be active, finish my tasks. And we can accomplish that because we are trying to change ourselves, our body, our routine. But you can’t change your routine overnight. So, that five minutes is a good start rather than trying to overwork yourself in a short amount of time. 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.